Monday, November 17, 2014

Old Time Hearty Beef Stew-MMMmmm Monday

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When the weather turns cold don't you just crave some of your favorite comfort foods?  This week it started to look like winter outside and it definitely felt like winter inside.  I pulled on a sweater and sat down with a bunch of my  favorite cookbooks.  The Better Homes and Gardens is one of my favorites from many years might have even been my mom's cookbook!

I was looking for a soup or stew recipe that reminded me of Mom's.  I found it!  This recipe has an ingredient that most stews do not...cloves (or Allspice)!  It is exactly what a fall recipe needs, and exactly what I was looking for.

Along with the stew, I baked up some biscuits and steamed cups of hot cocoa.  Dinner that night felt warm and cozy inside and out!

Old-Time Hearty Beef Stew
(Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cook Book)

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut in 1 ½ inch cubes
2 tablespoons shortening (I used cooking oil)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion, sliced
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon pepper
Dash ground allspice or cloves
6 carrots, pared and quartered
4 potatoes, pared and quartered
1 pound small white onions
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

In Dutch oven, thoroughly brown meat in 2 tbsp. hot shortening, turning often.  Add 2 cups hot water and next 9 ingredients.   Cover; simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.  Remove bay leaves and garlic.  Add vegetables.  Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, or till vegetables are tender.
Slowly blend 1/3 cup cold water into 3 tablespoons flour.  Stir slowly into hot stew mixture.  Cook and still till bubbly.  Cook and stir 3 minutes longer.  Serve stew in bowls.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

(I thought I might trying adding kale or spinach leaves next time-just for a little added yumminess!)

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thanks & Giving Activity (Turkey Toss)

Thanks & Giving Activity (Turkey Toss)
Primary Singing Time

I have been serving as the Chorister in our congregation's Primary, an organization like Sunday School, for children.  Today we learned a bit about how important it is to be mindful of our blessings and to remember to be thankful for them.

I explained to the children that I brought some fine feathered friends with me to help each of us with our THANKS and GIVING singing activity and then asked them to think about these two questions:

1.      What blessings has Heavenly Father given me?
(Almost every child raised their hand to share a blessing they had been given from Heavenly Father)
2.    How can I show my thanks to Him?

·        Toss the bean bag and see which turkey you throw closest to. 
·        Read one of the blessings on the back feathers.
·        How do I show thanks to Heavenly Father for…
·        Sing the corresponding song.        

Heavenly Father -I Need My Heavenly Father-pg. 18 CSB          
The Savior-I Have Two Little Hands-pg. 272 CSB                 
Scriptures-Scripture Power-sheet music                  
Prayer-A Child’s Prayer-pg. 12 CSB
Our Prophet-Follow the Prophet-pg. 110 CSB        
Temples-I Love to see the Temple-pg. 95 CSB
Families-Families Can Be Together-pg. 188 CSB   

The "Rafter of Turkeys" instruction came from Primarily Singing
and I have to express my thanks for making it so easy to re-create these adorable turkeys.  I love it when I see a picture of what I want and then when I create it, it looks pretty much the same!

The children enjoyed trying to "tag" the turkey with a little hacky sack (bean bag).

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Thursday, October 30, 2014


Need a super easy, super SWEEET Halloween treat?

Pick up some bakery bags at your local party store (Zurchers, Gigis, Partyland, Party City), choose something to go inside the bag and then download this great (free) tag from Bloom Designs.
It's really THAT EASY.

I chose SWIG cookies for the treat inside my bag...because I LOVE Swig cookies.  Make sure you wrap with saran wrap (the good kind) before tucking inside the bag.  We don't want the frosting seeping through the bag.

Jen made Monster Magic Cookie Bars for her treat...

Monster Magic Cookie Bars

 9 full graham crackers
  4 tbsp. butter
 1 can sweetened condensed milk
 approximately 3/4 c. oats
 approximately 3/4 c. M&Ms
 approximately 3/4 c. chocolate chips

1.                   In a zip top bag, crush the graham crackers using a rolling pin.
2.                  Once crushed, add the 4 tbsp. butter to the bag.
3.                  Place in the microwave and heat up for about 30 seconds.
4.                  Remove from microwave, let out the air and make sure the bag is sealed (maybe let it cool for a second or two!), and "mush" the butter and graham crackers together until fully incorporated.
5.                  Press the graham cracker crumbs into a well-greased and parchment lined 9x13 baking dish.
6.                  Evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk over the graham cracker layer.
7.                  Sprinkle the oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips evenly over the sweetened condensed milk and gently press in a little.
8.                 Bake at 350ยบ for 30 minutes or until browned and pulling away from the edges.
9.                  Let cool and serve.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Porches

Kel and I love to decorate for Holidays. Scratch that- We love it when our homes are decorated for the Holiday's. The actual decorating part isn't as fun as it used to be. It just seems like we are so busy with a million other things that it's become a chore. We thought we would share what our porches look like this year!

Jen's Porch:
Banner from Rod Works!
I made this cute wreath a few years ago from this blog
 I love my no solicitors sign! I might keep this up all year round!
 I got these fun Alchemy signs at Rod Works. The other items are from Wal-Mart

In the past I have also filled my urn's with pumpkins.

Kellie's Porch:

Check out more Halloween Decor if you DARE!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


We LOVE to Boo our friends for Halloween! It is a favorite Halloween tradition every year. It's so exhilarating to drop something off at the door and then dash away hoping no one follows you down the street! I saw this really cute idea on one of my favorite blogs Eighteen25.

We whipped up some Nutter Butter Ghosts

Rice Krispie Treat's dipped in chocolate and sprinkles

and added that cute ghost balloon and off we went!

Have you BOO'ed anyone yet this year? You still have a few days!!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Goofy Goblins Strike Again!

 They're baaaack!

October has arrived and our Goofy Goblins have returned...  And none too soon!

They crept the dead of night and left a little Family Night treat.  The goblins have a gift of knowing, and seeing all that goes on in our little haunted home.  If they like what they see they often leave a ghoulish trick...or sweet.

A large canister of 3 flavored Halloween popcorn magically appeared while all was quiet.  It had an important message attached:  I've got my eyes on YOU!  

Maybe a warning for future deliveries??

Eyeballs were detached and ready for view.

Tag here.

I wonder when our Scary Skeleton will visit?

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Pumpkin Bars-MMMmmm Monday

o    4 eggs
o    1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
o    1 cup vegetable oil
o    1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
o    2 cups all-purpose flour
o    2 teaspoons baking powder
o    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
o    2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
o    1 teaspoon salt
o    1 teaspoon baking soda
o    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
o    1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
o    2 cups powdered sugar
o    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.
3.    For a thick cake-like bar: Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick to check for doneness. For a thinner bar: Spread batter into a greased jelly roll pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick.
4.    Let cool completely before frosting.
5.    To make the frosting: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. You may need to add a little milk to make it spreadable if your butter wasn't soft enough. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars and cut into squares or cut bars first and frost individually.  Original recipe found here.

     These were so delicious that I decided to share.

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